AUGUSTA — City councilors are scheduled Thursday evening to discuss three zoning changes, including proposals meant to help the owner of the former St. Mark’s Church redevelop the historic property as a community gathering space, and to address issues raised when a controversial — and since halted — proposal was made to locate a mental health and substance abuse counseling service on Winthrop Street.

At the meeting, set to begin at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers at Augusta City Center, councilors are also expected to discuss another proposed zoning change that would allow small distilleries, breweries and bakeries in a zone encompassing much of the commercial area near exit 109 off Interstate 95, including the Turnpike Mall and Augusta Crossing areas.

That alteration would follow a change approved by councilors in October 2018 allowing distilleries, breweries and bakeries to locate in a zone encompassing the retail center Marketplace at Augusta.

The Augusta Planning Board and city staff recommend adding those uses as permitted in the Regional Business, or CC, zoning district, in part, according to a city memo, because that zoning district already allows similar uses.

Councilors are also expected to discuss a proposal to create a contract zone specific to the former St. Mark’s Church, between Pleasant and Summer streets. The change would help Adam Turner, who bought the Gothic revival church building from the local Episcopal Church in 2018, redevelop the church. Built in 1884, the building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1984.

The proposal, recommended by the planning board, would add four permitted uses for the building: conference and event center, art studio and galleries, museums, and social and fraternal organizations, but not require on-site parking for those uses.

City Manager William Bridgeo said city officials have expressed interest in providing a tax break on new development at the church, but state officials will not approve tax increment financing, or TIF, unless the property is zoned to allow the proposed uses.

“Any way we can try to help him save that iconic church building, there is support for that,” Bridgeo said Tuesday.

Turner has proposed turning the church building into a community space, where people could gather for discussions, listen to live music, watch films, listen to lectures or hold events, such as weddings or conferences.

While the contract zone would apply only to the church building, Turner also bought the church’s adjacent, former parish hall, which he has converted into apartments.

Turner has said income from rent of those apartments will help fund repairs to the Gothic church building, which he said has a leaky slate roof and granite that needs to be repointed. He also said the building needs more insulation.

The other zoning change would create a new Westside Professional District, extending one block in both directions off part of Winthrop Street, between Pleasant and Chestnut streets.

The new zone was proposed after concerns were raised by neighbors opposed to a proposal, which did not win planning board approval, to move Blue Willow Counseling services to a property at the corner of Winthrop and North Chestnut streets.

The new zone would ban numerous uses — including social services, day care centers, conference and event centers, educational services, and medical clinics — that are either permitted or conditional uses on Winthrop Street now.

It would allow single-family dwellings, community living arrangements, business and professional offices and services, business and professional associations and building-mounted solar energy systems.

It would also allow multifamily dwellings, group homes, religious activities, historical societies, government services, personal services, barber and beauty shops, and finance, insurance and real estate services as conditional uses, which would require review by the planning board.

Councilors are also scheduled to:

• Discuss changes to the city’s taxi cab ordinance.

• Hear a presentation on what would be required to build an access road into the city-owned Kennebec Lockes site, where city officials have expressed a desire to encourage development.

• Discuss the 2021 budget review schedule.

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